Message SERIES: 1 John
SCRIPTURE: 1 John 2:15-17
Vs. 15 – The word “world” is kosmos in the Greek and it is used to describe the SPIRITUAL SYSTEM—that is, the earthly system of values, beliefs, and behaviours that reject God and his purposes. And in 1 John 5:19 he writes, “19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” When John uses “the world” in this sense, He is referring to a way of life that rejects God and his rule.
The point John wants to make is that you cannot love the world and God at the same time.
Vs. 16 – SO HOW DO YOU KNOW if you love the world? John identifies three (worldly) cravings that are characteristic of a worldly way of life.
- “Craving” is a compound word which takes the normal word for desire and puts a prefix on it that intensifies it. Literally, it could be translated “hyper-desire.” Craving begins with a healthy desire but takes it to an unhealthy extreme.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with desire. Most of them are God-given. What the “world” does is takes these natural desires and corrupts them, or exaggerates them, so that they become unnatural.
- Craving for physical pleasure
- Craving for possessions
- Craving for pride
Vs. 17 – The problem with pleasure, possessions, and pride isn’t so much that they are wrong; it’s that they’re not enough. They don’t last, for one thing. Pleasure is fleeting. Possessions lose value. And earthly accomplishments are soon forgotten or surpassed. They don’t last.
The cravings are too shallow. They cannot satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts.
You see, it’s not just pleasure we’re looking for; it’s joy.
We don’t need more stuff; we need contentment.
It’s not achievement we’re after; it’s significance.
And these things can only be found, ultimately and eternally, in relationship with God, which is why John says, “…anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
- What was your reaction to John’s statement: “Do not love the world or the things in the world”?
- John describes love for the world as “the craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.”
– What are some “worldly” struggles in your life right now? Do these worldly struggles compete with your love for God? Do you love these things more than God? How is God helping you overcome these struggles? Do you have an increasing love for God and a decreasing love for the world? Why or why not?
- According to John, what does having a love for “the world” and the things of the world indicate about our relationship with God?
- What does (or would) it look like to fight and avoid worldly temptations in your daily life?
- The theme of our study is “Love One Another.” How does this week’s passage relate to John’s big idea and his hope for Jesus’ Church?
This week, have each member of the group compare their social media experience, advertisements, and entertainment with all that is in the world according to John. They should ask themselves: What temptation is this based on? Is it the craving of pleasures, craving possessions, or pride? Discuss your findings with one another throughout the week or before the next time you meet.
- Pray that God would make you and your small group aware of any blindness or dullness they have toward worldly temptation(s), so they can see, confess, and turn away from it.
- Pray that God would fill everyone in the group with the Holy Spirit, empowering them to live the life God has called them to live. (See Ephesians 5:18.)